"The signing of the China-European Union (EU) Geographical Indications (GIs) Agreement has demonstrated and once again proved that mutual benefit and win-win outcome are at the heart of China-EU relations. It is the common responsibility and goal of China and Europe to meet the expectations and needs of the people of both sides," said Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, citing that this agreement provides comprehensive and effective protection and promotion for the high-quality GIs products of two sides to enter each other's markets, and also provides more options for the people of China and Europe to pursue a better life.
Since the agreement took effect on September 14 last year, the two sides have continued to deepen the mutual recognition and protection of GIs list, allowing GIs products to ride on the international express featuring fairness, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation to global market. As of now, a total of 110 Chinese GIs and 134 EU GIs are protected by the other side via individual application, mutual recognition trial projects and mutual protection as required by documents, resulting in further expansion of GIs of both sides in the world.
Bilateral cooperation welcomes opportunity
Since the signing of the agreement, China and the EU have ensured the products protected and recognized in two markets, having created a sound business environment for GIs industry development, and jointly promoted high-level protection in both markets, made the bilateral economic and trade cooperation continued to develop. "The signing of the agreement has established a convenient and efficient platform for GIs products of both parties to enter each other's markets, which surely becomes a new growth point for both parties' international trade," said Xu Shengquan, Associate Professor of the School of Intellectual Property, Nanjing University of Science and Technology and Director of the Jiangsu Trademark and Brand Research Center.
"Developing agricultural cooperation with China is of vital importance to the EU," said Janusz Wojciechowski, member of the European Commission responsible for agricultural affairs. He said that in recent years, China and the EU have exchanged views frequently in agricultural science and technology and GIs. In 2020, China-EU agricultural trade continued to maintain a momentum of rapid growth despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the trademark volume of 30 billion U.S. dollars. While bringing more economic benefits to producers, the agreement also plays a positive role in promoting regional economic development.
After the agreement took effect in March this year, China and the EU simultaneously issued an announcement on the protection of the first group of GIs, laying a solid foundation for the implementation of the agreement. The second group of "175+175" GIs list will complete protection procedure within four years after the agreement enters into force. In May this year, the State Administration for Market Regulation of China and the China National Intellectual Property Administration jointly issued the Guiding Opinions on Further Strengthening the Protection of Geographical Indications, clarifying the policy framework for the protection and management of GIs.
Taking several measures to implement the agreement
The EU is well-known for its GI protection system featuring high-standard and strict rules. How to build a system comfortably working with other systems is a challenge for China. Anji White Tea, as the first group of products on the list, has embarked on a way of high-standard production management. At present, Anji County has developed 4,153 hectares of national certified pollution-free tea gardens, and 1,733 hectares of green (organic) gardens; one national standardization demonstration park and six provincial standard parks, setting a good example for popularization of standardized production and management.
In the meantime, in a bid to establish their brands in the Chinese market, the EU has taken various measures to introduce and promote their products by holding seminars and participating China International Fair for Trade in Services, hoping the brand image of excellent quality and high standard are printed in the minds of Chinese consumers.
In parallel, as the two sides continue to bolster GI cooperation, the brand awareness of such products will continue to increase. It is believed that under the guidance of the agreement, more and more GIs products will take this international express to enjoy a bright future of high-quality development.